British Columbia

Blind tasting develops and expands drinkers' palates

Wine expert Barb Philip says blind tasting helps remove people's preconceived notions of what they think they like and allows them to explore new tastes and varieties.

Wine expert Barb Philip: "People are hardly ever right"

On the Coast wine expert Barb Phillip says blind tastings are a way to remove predjudice when evaluating wine.
On the Coast wine columnist Barb Philip (CBC)

Wine expert Barb Philip says blind tasting helps remove people's preconceived notions of what they think they like and allows them to explore new tastes and varieties.

"We are always influenced by what we see on the label, what we know about the wine, if we've had it before, do we like that region, or typically don't like that grape variety. This all comes into it, we can't help it."

Philip organizes blind tasting events for students and seasoned experts and lets them rate them and guess their prices. 

"People are hardly ever right," said Philip.

This week, Philip conducted a blind tasting of two wines with On the Coast host Stephen Quinn and offered up a couple of tips to help you conduct your own blind tasting.

1. The first thing you do is look at it to make sure there is nothing floating in it that looks bad and just to take an assessment of the colour. Is it dark, is it light?

2. Swirl it to release the aromas. Get your nose stuck right in the glass.

3. Put it in your mouth. Swirl it around, let the wine touch all surfaces of your mouth. Is the wine sweet, does it leave residual sugar?  What is the sensation on your palette? How refreshing is the wine? How high is the acid?

Master of Wine Barbara Philip's red wine picks

  • Haywire Pinot Noir. Okanagan Valley. 2012. $23.00
  • Inniskillin Okanagan Estate Merlot. Okanagan Valley. 2012. $12.75

    To hear the full interview with Barb Philip, listen to the audio labelled Blind Tasting


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